on 30 June 2006
These stories are miracles, they are like visiting angels. Jackie Kay writes about the saddest, most awful times in relationship/friendship break-ups and their desolate aftermaths, so wonderfully that each sentence is hard to let go of. Funny, outrageous, intimate, a joy to read.
In these twelve short stories Jackie Kay examines love from various angles, whether mutual, obsessive, maternal, or lost. I knew I was going to enjoy this collection from the first sentence of the first story: "It is not so much that we are splitting up that is really worrying me, it is the fact that she keeps quoting Martin Amis." What follows is a funny, but also very poignant story about the break-up of a long-term relationship which ends with a line just as good as the opening.
In other stories we meet the same humour and poignancy as Kay inhabits a variety of characters, all with distinctive voices and outlooks. I particularly enjoyed 'Not the Queen', about a Glaswegian woman who to her dismay is the spitting image of her majesty, 'My Daughter the Fox', an account of the fierce love a mother feels for her vulpine daughter, and 'The Mirrored Twins' in which two lovers go on a weekend climbing trip. In this last story Kay renders the love these men feel for each other so joyously that, despite growing signs of foreboding, one can't help but feel elated.